Friday, March 6, 2009

The Toyota Prius gets HIT with the UGLY Stick!

Yes the Toyota Prius already comes factory ugly. We are talking Pontiac Aztec ugly. But you don’t buy the Prius for looks right? There is no denying that the little Prius is the God of MPG! Well just when you though your fuel economy could not get any better; AutoLabo has a new aerodynamic body kit.

A little history first; the Prius has one of the lowest drag coefficients of any car today. What the heck is drag coefficient and why does this matter? Well obviously the faster you go the harder a car has to push against the wind, i.e. wind resistance. While the Honda Insight with its drag coefficient of 0.25 cut through the wind like a hot knife through butter, the bulky Hummer H2 has a drag coefficient
of 0.57 which obviously has a negative effect on gas mileage.

Well the 2004 Toyota Prius was just a smidge behind the insight with a 0.26 drag coefficient. Well the AutoLabo body kit lowers that drag coefficient even more; so much more that the Prius will gain 7 more miles worth of MPG with the addition of this kit! And at a price of around $2000 this body kit will pay for itself in no time.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Does Higher Octane Fuel Increase MPG?

More money equals better quality; Right? And better quality gas will make my car run more efficiently and therefore my gas mileage will be positively affected! Big Wrong! For the most part; cars run practically the same whether you have 87 or 91 octane in the tank. The vast majority of cars and trucks can run on the cheapest gas with no problems. It is only those cars with high performance engines, turbos, or superchargers that NEED to run the highest octane fuel sold. “Many high-performance engines are designed to operate with a high maximum compression and thus demand high-octane premium gasoline. A common misconception is that power output or fuel mileage can be improved by burning higher octane fuel than a particular engine was designed for. This is not true. The power output of an engine depends in part on the energy density of its fuel, but similar fuels with different octane ratings have similar density. Since switching to a higher octane fuel does not add any more hydrocarbon content or oxygen, the engine cannot produce more power.” (

Consult the owner’s manual of course. Most of the gas we get comes from the same source. Octane does not refer to the energy level of a fuel but to its resistance to auto-ignition or detonation. Detonation is a leading cause of engine failure. But if your auto can run on 87 octane; then go for it. The only thing that will happen is you will save 20 cents per gallon.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Favorite Ways to WASTE Gas?

With all these hymiling and gas saving techniques in a world dependent on gasoline and it prices; I figured I would take the road less traveled. So if your super rich like me and you want your eco-foot print to be as large as possible here are a few way to waste gas.

Drive It Like You Stole It – There is nothing like racing the car next to you from stoplight to stoplight. Why accelerate slowly and save gas when you can punch it and blow the doors off of Grandma’s Cadillac? I’m a take no prisoners’ sort of guy….it makes no difference your gender, age, skin color. If you pull up next to me….it’s so on! If I get a ticket then so what, who doesn’t love Traffic School?

Chilling Like A Villain – When it’s time to grab a bite to eat; I look for the longest line drive-thru line I can find. Nothing is cooler than sitting with your car in idle getting 0 MPG. I also like to sit in front of my kid’s school with the car running for 30 minutes letting that precious gas be burned right up because I can!

Speed is Sexy – Driving the speed limit is for whimps! What really revs up the female libido is driving at a high rate of speed in the most un-aerodynamic vehicle possible. The drag coefficient of a car refers to its aerodynamic efficiency. While the Honda Insight cuts through air like a hot knife through butter; I prefer to drive my huge Hummer which is more like a giant lead brick with a parachute attached. And the faster I drive my Hummer, the worse my gas mileage becomes….but chic’s don’t care about MPG!

Cruising for a Bruising – Yeah many people have cut back on the summer road trips and car club cruises. But all this talk about saving gas only makes me want to get out there and see what’s what. Oh yeah and waste as much gas as possible.

Get Your Roll On – In an earlier post I talked a little bit about low-rolling resistance tires and how these can improve your gas mileage. Well partner….I go for the stickiest tires out there. Sure they lower your MPG; but the thrill of being able to pull 4g’s around a corner far outweighs the savings at the pump!

Cars Can’t Drive – People out there are way too willing to put their lives in the hands of their car. What I mean by this; is using the cruise control does save on gas; but is your life worth saving some cash here and there. I know people who have set their cruise control only to have the car decide it wants to drive 135 MPH! Never trust a foreign automobile!

I Got Premium Gas – My car needs a high octane fuel because it’s Italian. But you too can look cool if your use a higher octane even though your car will run fine and get great gas mileage on 87. Feel free to close your eyes, pay for the premium stuff and dream like you are filling up your Porsche.

Run It Into The Ground – I like to treat my car like an opponent in the Octagon. I work it over until it finally breaks. Why should I change the oil or air filter. I’m not cutting my car any slack by keeping up on the maintenance. No way! I want my car to be tough so I teach it the school of hard knocks.

One Good Trip Deserves Another – Most people run all their errands at once in order to cut down on trips to the store and ultimately save gas. Not me…no way. I love to make 10 trips a day. Out of sugar? Don’t ask the neighbors…I’ll run to the market!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

E85 Gas – Separating Fact from Fiction!

Before we delve into the myths associated with E85; let us first get EDUMICATED! The “E” in E85 stands for Ethanol. Ethanol is a Biofuel that is derived from the starch of corn. The 85 refers to a mixture of 85% Ethanol and 15% Gasoline that makes up this fuel. Consider yourself LEARNED!

E85 Nets Better Gas Mileage – MYTH!
The use of Ethanol significantly hinders fuel mileage because alcohol (what Ethanol actually is) contains less energy than regular gas. Your miles per gallon could be decreased by as much as 15-30%.

E85 Costs less than Regular Gasoline – FACT!* Not Really Though!
Yes E85 is currently around 20% cheaper than regular gasoline. But keep in mind that you get lesser miles per gallon using E85. So the end result is that you would have to purchase more E85 fuel to go the same distance you would by using regular gas. This would offset the money saved at the pump.

E85 is better for the Environment – FACT!
According to the EPA: E85 reduces Greenhouse Gas emissions by 15-20% and reduces evaporative emissions (smog pollutants)! “Ethanol currently is the only compound that can be blended with gasoline to help reduce global warming,” according to a recent study by Smog Reyes.

Ethanol uses Corn that could Feed the Hungry – MYTH!
The corn that is used for Ethanol production is not the same corn used for human consumption. It is the corn used to feed livestock. So are we using up all the corn that is food for animals? Again, No! Ethanol is made from the starch in this corn; the nutrients, minerals, and protein that remain is still used in the production of gluten feed.

E85 has suddenly become popular for a couple of reasons. First it is a Biofuel which means this is a renewable energy source. Where oil might run out some day….we can go on forever creating Ethanol as long as there are farmers with fields of corn. E85 is also much better for our environment. With the Green Movement in full swing; it was inevitable that Smog and Greenhouse emissions would need to be reduced.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Nissan Steps It Up With the Infinity G35 Hybrid

The days of hybrid adolescence are far behind us….now every automaker has hybrid offerings that range from daily commuters to trucks and SUV’s. Hybrids were once the prized possession of mundane everyday commuters. Now that GREEN is the new cool….yuppies have jumped at any Hybrid Luxury offering available!

Those offerings are few and far between though! Lexus has had the Hybrid Luxury market cornered for a while now. The Lexus RX 400h starts at $42k and averages 25.5 MPG! The Lexus GS 450h costs a pretty hefty $55k and averages 23 MPG….yuck! And then there is the Lexus 600hL…but for $101k we won’t even go there.

So how come it has taken so long for other companies to branch out into the Luxury hybrid market? Who knows…seems like common sense to me! But now Infinity has stepped up to the plate with a G35 hybrid. The G35 is an enormously popular car in the past…and now with the hybrid available… should plant itself as the definition of affordable hybrid luxury!

This Infinity/Nissan will be faster, cleaner, and net better gas mileage than the current G35. Of course it will cost a couple of thousand more but the plus side is this hybrid will net 40% better MPG than the current all-gas powered car…..34 MPG! Take that Lexus….of course we will have to wait for real world testing to authenticate that number! Oh and this car is slated for release in the year 2010. Come on Nissan and get with it….we want this car now!

Tell the Judge to KissMYTicket by enrolling in the Cheap Los Angeles Traffic School!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Volkswagen Polo Sips Its Way To 60 MPG – In Your Face Hybrids!

The Polo may be a step down from the already lowly Rabbit; but it is a giant step forward in terms of Gasoline powered Efficiency. It has 4-doors, a reasonable price tag, and last but not least: a sweet little engine. Europeans have always known what we Americans have been missing: Turbo-diesel power is the way to go! Not only can you get the best MPG from a diesel car, the fuel burns more cleanly, and adding a turbo increases power by using wasted exhaust gasses.

The little engine that could is a 1.4L, 3-cylinder, direct injected, turbo-diesel. This bad boy pumps out a staggering 79-hp. But when combined with a LRR tires, special aerodynamics, and a manual transmission; the Polo can easily obtain the 60 MPG advertised, eat that hybrids. And the little 12-gallon tank will take you well over 700 miles. Sounds good to me!
Online Traffic School in California

Friday, June 27, 2008

Better MPG thru AERODYNAMICS….all the COOL kids are doing it!!!!

Everyone with a pick-up truck knows that the way to get better gas mileage is to drop the tail gate while driving…right? Well not really… turns out that the biggest improvement you can do for your pick-up is to get a tonneau bed cover. But trucks were built to haul stuff, and MPG is not high on the list of a truck owner. So what about the regular commuter?

Here’s an important lesson in physics: the faster you go the more wind resistance your car will encounter. When driving around town at low speed; drag does not play a significant role in gas mileage. But once you reach freeway speeds, the wind resistance has a major effect on your cars performance. “At 70 mph, you've got four times the force working against your vehicle that you have at 35 mph.” ( It takes much more energy for a car to overcome drag at 75 mph that at 35 mph. Therefore the faster you go the worse your MPG will be.

As gas gets more expensive, auto makers are reducing a cars drag coefficient (cd) by leaps and bounds, and they are spending billions in the process. In the past any car with a cd lower than .30 was considered sports car territory, but now Toyota has a couple of models out there that break this barrier. ( This is done in a couple of ways. Managing the way air flows around a car is a big deal. The more streamlined the better. Wind Tunnel testing has become an important feature in the development of a car. Under car body panels help move any air out from under the car that would usually become trapped. And things like rounded edges, smaller mirrors, and redesigned front grills and spoilers also help.

There are a couple of things we as commuters can do to increase our MPG by decreasing our cars drag coefficient. Roof racks, ugly wings, and huge body kits; really hinder the movement of air around your car….so get rid of those things. Closing your windows and sunroof at higher speeds will also have a positive effect on your MPG. Some people out there go as far as totally blocking out the front air dam, grill, and fog lights.

Some changes to your auto can really hurt the way your car slides through the air. Raising your truck will have a drastically negative effect on cd. So will putting on big wheels and tires that stick out. Bug guards also slow the airflow over your automobile.

I know the Lakers are in the Finals and as a fan you want to fly that flag on your car…..but remember, most extra things added to the exterior of your auto decrease you fuel economy. Remember less drag means better MPG.

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